SEARCY, Ark.– Students at Harding University are on edge after police say a man inappropriately touched a student on campus and harassed several others. Now Searcy Police and campus security are working to find him.
Harding University’s Dept. of Public Safety (campus security) says it happened on campus at the art building Thursday night.
Celeste Parker, a Senior at Harding University, says she was walking into the building when the suspect approached her.
“Behind me there was a man, literally two inches from me, breathing down my neck,” said Celeste Parker. “He said he was on campus to look at pretty girls and that is disgusting.”
Parker says she tried to get inside the building and away from the suspect. She says he pushed his way inside behind her—grabbing and touching her inappropriately.
“It was just disgusting like I hated every second of it. I was assaulted and he was trespassing,” said Parker.
Searcy Police sent KARK multiple photos from the school’s surveillance video.
“In the pictures he was even smiling at the camera, which is very sick,” said Parker.
Harding’s Public Safety Dept. says the man in the photos harrassed several other women once inside. Parker says she feels the university could have done more to help the situation.
“They let him go before Searcy P-D could get to him, so I feel like they did not have my best interest at heart,” recalled Parker.
A spokesperson for Harding University says the Dept. of Public Safety called Searcy Police who then came to campus. At that time, SPD began searching the grounds for the suspect. They did not find him.
The University sent the following statement regarding Thursday’s incident:
“We want all of our students and employees to be and feel safe on campus and their health and safety are our highest priority. The University’s department of public safety works around the clock to monitor for suspicious activity and provide support to our campus community. It is DPS standard practice to escort any student who feels unsafe to their campus destination. The University understands this experience was extremely traumatic to these students and is following up with the students involved to provide any additional support and resources they may need.
“I feel like being a Christian campus we should be looked out for more than what we have been,” said Parker.
Parker says by sharing her story, she hopes the suspect will be found so he cannot hurt other women on campus.
“People deserve to know what he did and who he is and that he is still out there,” said Parker.
A spokesperson for the University tells KARK they do not believe the suspect is a student.
Searcy Police say if incidents like this happen in the future, students should call 911 first. If you recognize the man in the photos give investigators a call at (501) 279-1025